Recently, two major bugs have been found that will make your iPhones and iPads lose Wi-Fi functionality. Carl Schou, a security researcher, found these bugs and tweeted that if an iPhone comes in a range of a Wi-Fi network named ‘%secretclub%power,’ then that iPhone will lose its Wi-Fi functionality.
Previously, another bug was also found where an iPhone or iPad lost Wi-Fi functionality when joining a network with the name ‘%p%s%s%s%s%n.’ Resetting network settings can fix this issue, but this doesn’t fix the first bug. This can be quite dangerous as the device only needs to be in the range of the malicious network.
How to fix iPhone WiFi bug?
Reset your network settings by going to Settings>General>Reset>Reset Network Settings. This will reset all your saved Wi-Fi networks on the iPhone and remove the malicious name from its memory. This will only fix bugs related to the network name name ‘%p%s%s%s%s%n.‘ To fix the bug related to the network named ‘%secretclub%power,’ users might have to restore their device using iTunes. Users might also have to remove information from “com.apple.wifi manually.known-networks.list” before restoring the device.
This bug is likely due to the ‘%[character]’ syntax commonly used in programming languages in string format function. The Wi-Fi network name (code) is then transferred to an internal library performing string formatting. This code can cause a memory write and buffer overflow leading to memory corruption. Due to this, the iOS system disables Wi-Fi functionality for the device.
For now, this doesn’t seem to do any permanent damage to the device hardware but can become an inconvenience. There might even be networks with similar names popping up to prank others, so that doesn’t help. Apple will likely fix this issue in the next iPhone OS update, but till then, avoid any Wi-fi networks with % in the name.